The Essence of Summer

Night is falling on Mauserts Pond.  I’m camping in Clarksburg State Park near the boarder of MA and VT.  I arrived yesterday evening after work, feeling exhausted but calm upon arrival in the great outdoors.

I woke up this morning feeling less than refreshed.  In fact, I felt totally worn out and depleted.  As I like to say, I wasn’t just worn down to a nub – I was worn down to an indentation!

Feeling at a loss, I walked down to the pond and stared blankly at the water.  When that failed to captivate me, I started to stare at the ground instead. Just then, I noticed a colony of ants bustling about in the grass.  The covered a radius of about 6 feet, a mini metropolis crawling with tiny brown bodies.  They were so busy!  I sure could relate to that!

I have been way too busy lately.  As I was watching the ants, I decided, “Let them do all the work!  I’m taking the day off!”  And in a weird way, it became oddly satisfying to watch this swarming mass of industriousness.  I was completely mesmerized.

The more I watched, the more I noticed, too.   I saw a centipede crawling over tiny hills and dales, undulating its multitude of filament-like legs as it labored up and down blades of grass.  Damselflies and dragonflies zipped in and touched down, their cellophane wings shining in the sun.

I didn’t do much of anything today.  I tried to go for a hike, but I felt too tired and gave up after I realized I was feeling miserable.

I mostly sat by the pond and read, napped, and just watched the world around me. It reminded me of when I was a kid and would spend hours under a tree, just looking up at the leaves and the sky.

By dinner time I was starting to feel almost human again (i.e., not devoid of a soul out of exhaustion).  My good friend, Allison came to meet me for dinner.  We ate at my campsite and went for a walk by the pond.

I put my feet in the water, we admired trees and rocks, and like little kids, we stopped to poke at a rotting stump with sticks.  We sat on a bolder and watched water bugs spiraling like whirling dervishes across the water, while the evening sun washed everything in a golden glow as lovely and sweet as dandelion wine.

In a way, I felt like I had stepped back in time.  I shed some of stress and obligation of my adult life and reached back into a simpler time, where summers were spent exploring the outdoors or just daydreaming under a tree.  Somehow, just by letting go, I was able to tap into the youthful innocence that is at the heart of what summer is all about.




Wings Across the Night

I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to pause before turning in for the night.  It’s been a busy day, and lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed.  I’m trying to get myself to stop, to pause, to take in the beauty of this vibrant season, without feeling crushed by what “needs to get done”, even if it’s just for a moment.

I came out to go for a soak in the hot tub (I know, lucky me!), and I was so struck by the night sky.  The clouds were  winging overhead, with smoky grey feathered-tips, hushed and weightless wisps blowing across the night.  Looking into the sky, I saw bats darting about just above the yard.  I feel a real kinship with bats (perhaps because I played a bat in a school play when I was 6 – a very apropos theatrical debut).  Fireflies danced against the dark backdrop of the woods, captivating me as they aways have with their simple and beautiful magic.  I could see the white glow of the delicate mountain laurel blossoms, shimmering  slightly from the moon shining through the trees.

As I watched these winged entities sailing through the night, I felt as if I could float away.  None of my worries mattered anymore. All that mattered was this moment.  Just this. Just now.